“The US Supreme Court has agreed to consider a case from Apple that could determine how antitrust complaints are handled against a wide range of ecommerce sites including Amazon and eBay,” Tim Bradshaw reports for The Financial Times. “The case will hinge on whether Apple can be held responsible by consumers for the price of the apps they download.”
“The top US court said on Monday that it would hear Apple’s attempt to rebuff a lawsuit that alleged its App Store is anti-competitive and has inflated the price of iPhone software,” Bradshaw reports. “Opponents, led by plaintiff Robert Pepper, an iPhone owner from Chicago, are seeking class action status for their complaint that the world’s most valuable company has “monopolised” the software market for iPhones by forcing developers to sell apps exclusively through its online store.”
“Apple typically takes a 30 per cent commission on upfront prices and in-app payments through the App Store,” Bradshaw reports. “Supreme Court justices will re-examine the so-called Illinois Brick doctrine established by the court in 1977, which stated only the direct victims of monopolist behaviour can claim damages, not customers who purchase goods via an intermediary.”
“Apple says it acts merely as a marketplace, allowing developers to set their own prices for their apps, then acting as their agent by delivering their products to consumers. Because it is an intermediary, the iPhone maker argues that only app developers — not app buyers such as Mr Pepper and the other plaintiffs — can bring an antitrust case against it under the Illinois Brick precedent,” Bradshaw reports. “The case is a key test of how antitrust rules can be applied to online marketplaces operated by tech companies…”
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MacDailyNews Take: Would that Robert were a doctor. (Yes, right now we’re thirsty.)
First: One would assume that a large corporation such as Apple would have had competent legal advice when they set up their App Store, in order that it be set up in legal fashion.
Second: On every iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and iPad mini box, the potential buyer is informed of requirements, including “iTunes X.x or later required for some features” and also that an “iTunes Store account” is required. The plaintiffs were informed of the requirements prior to purchase. If the plaintiffs didn’t like the terms that came along with Apple devices, they should have opted for a pretend iPhone from any one of a dime-a-dozen handset assemblers. Then they could blissfully infest their fake iPhones with malware from a variety of sources.
Third: Apple doesn’t set the prices for paid apps.
Fourth: The amount by which Apple Inc. has driven down software prices across the board, on every major computing platform, makes legal actions such as this eminently laughable.
U.S. Supreme Court to consider Apple appeal in antitrust suit over App Store prices – June 18, 2018
US DOJ sides with Apple over App Store antitrust allegations in Supreme Court brief – May 10, 2018
9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revives antitrust lawsuit against Apple – January 13, 2017
Apple App Store antitrust complaint dismissed on procedural grounds by U.S. judge – August 16, 2013